When you think of watching sports, games like football, soccer, or baseball may come to mind. But increasingly, one of the most-watched sporting events online is competitive video gaming or eSports. eSports includes a vast number of games, from animated reconstructions of physical sports to team-based multiplayer online battle arenas.
Traditional sports are losing viewers, while eSports are gaining them. The surge is so big that there is currently some kind of pseudo-professional circuit for practically every substantially successful video game on the market.
eSports is a fast-moving industry that is growing and changing every day. New games and new technologies that allow even more immersive experiences come out every day. Virtual reality, in which a player wears a headset and uses controllers to interact with a virtual landscape, lets gamers of all ages and abilities have a better overall experience while gaming.
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A Brief Background of eSports
While the first national eSports association wasn’t created until the early 2000s in South Korea, the foundations for that possibility were laid nearly 60 years before.
In 1952, computer scientist Alexander Shafto Douglas was working on his doctoral thesis, which was about how computers and humans interact, according to ispo.com. He came up with a way for humans to play tic-tac-toe, or XOX, against the computer, and that was the world’s first computer game.
It wasn’t long before the first multiplayer computer game emerged. In 1958, an American physicist, William Higinbotham, presented “Tennis for Two,” which allowed two people to play against each other with an early form of the joystick.
He was called to testify during a video game patent lawsuit in the 1970s, and since then, Tennis for Two has been celebrated as one of the world’s earliest multiplayer computer games.
The 1970s ushered in an era of video game arcades and the first home consoles. In the 1990s, game companies started to recognize the potential of multiplayer video gaming. Nintendo organized its world championships in 1990 in the United States, where gamers in three age groups faced off in the Nintendo games Super Mario Bros, Rad Racer, and Tetris.
It became obvious in the 1990s that PCs and networks would be the future of competitive gaming. PCs attracted interest from private families and the games industry as hardware got stronger and more affordable.
As private networks and internet connections became more widely available, competitive gaming grew across the world. eSports continued to grow more popular and widespread in the early 2000s, with competitions and prizes becoming more prestigious.
eSports has established itself all over the world, and eSports events continue to grow every year, with competitions and the ability to view them only becoming more accessible as technology improves. eSports have more than tripled their audience since 2012.
The number of eSports players has grown from 8,000 in 2012 to more than 25,000 in 2020, according to the Esportz Network.
What Popular Games Are Already Established in the World of eSports?
While more games and types of games are emerging all the time, a few games are already wildly popular in the world of eSports, with competitors earning brand sponsorships and drawing millions of viewers worldwide.
1. Dota 2 (Defense of the Ancients 2)
Released in 2013, DOTA 2 has earned competitors nearly $225 million since multiplayer competitions began. Teams of five people typically play the game together, each team defending a certain region on a map. One team wins by destroying a structure dubbed “Ancient” within the opposing team’s base.
2. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO)
The two teams in CS:GO are the terrorists and the counter-terrorists. The terrorists detonate a device while taking hostages. The hostages must be freed, and the bomb must be disarmed by the counter-terrorists. CS:GO was released in 2012. eSports players have earned over $96 million in prizes for playing this game.
Fortnite was released in 2017 and rapidly gained popularity with eSports players. They’ve already earned $89.1 million in prizes playing the game, which has three modes: creative, battle royale, and save the world. “Save the world” involves fighting off zombies while the battle royale mode is player-vs.-player, and the last one standing wins.
4. League of Legends
Riot Games created this multiplayer real-time strategic action game. In Asia, it is extremely popular.
Its gameplay is somewhat reminiscent of Dota 2 and is played by two teams of three or five players each. Similar to Dota 2, a team here wins by destroying a building named “Nexus” inside the base of the other team. It was released in 2009 and has netted players over $75 million.
5. Rocket League
Psyonix created this distinct soccer game in the form of an arcade game. It is referred to as, “soccer, but with cars.” Teams of up to eight people can participate in this game.
Similar to soccer, the goal of this game is to score a goal and accumulate points. Released in 2016, it has already earned players nearly $9 million.
What Are Some Emerging Games in eSports?
Did you ever wonder if there are emerging games in the world of eSports?
If so, you would be right. Believe it or not, new games are constantly being established in the eSports industry, and the world of eSports is expanding with the use of virtual reality. Here are a few things that we think might help you better understand how eSports are emerging.
VR is getting better and better: improvements to headsets, handheld instruments, and team communication are making VR a more immersive environment for players. This allows them to get more engaged in the game, which provides for a more entertaining watching experience for fans.
1. Midair: Community Edition
Midair: Community Edition is a Steam-based game slated for release in September 2022. Developers describe it as “a fast-paced jetpack shooter set in a breathtaking new sci-fi universe.”
2. Overwatch 2
Expected to release in October 2022, Overwatch 2 is a much-awaited sequel to the 2016 hero shooter game. Developed by Blizzard Entertainment, the game introduces permanent cooperative options while maintaining a shared environment for player-versus-player modes like its predecessor.
3. Roller Champions
Released in May 2022, Roller Champions is a free-to-play sports game by Ubisoft released on Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.
4. Halo Infinite
Released in 2021, Halo Infinite is the sixth game in the Halo series. The first-person shooter has single-player and multiplayer modes.
5. League of Legends: Wild Rift
League of Legends: Wild Rift is a free-to-play modified version of the League of Legends PC game. Released in 2020, it features a multiplayer online battle arena.
How Is Virtual Reality Emerging in eSports?
While VR eSports requires a different skill set than traditional eSports, VR leagues already exist. As VR technology advances, movements and immersion will only become more consistent and measurable.
VR equipment is already becoming much more accessible to the average player, with headsets on every teen’s Christmas list over the past few years.
Virtual reality may just be a headset and some handheld controllers, but it evokes a real emotional and physical response in players.
We hope you enjoyed this information about emerging eSports! If you have any feedback for us, please feel free to share it in the comments section!